Monday, February 25, 2013

My Wellness Journey

I've posted before about food and my personal journey with finding foods that nourish my body, and I feel like our family is in a good place with this. I am now completely refined sugar free - in fact, the only sugars I eat are a piece of fruit a day, and the occasional splash of Rice Malt Syrup in something as a treat. I am also gluten free, and eat very few grains. Our family eats free of additives and processed foods, and we include lots of nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, ethical meats, good quality animal fats and dairy, backyard eggs and legumes into our diets. The children are not completely sugar free - they have small amounts of local unprocessed honey in their diets.

What I haven't written about before are the ways I try to live a well life, in all areas, not just in regards to food. My pregnancy with Brannen left me nearly 30 kilos overweight, and suffering with acute lower back pain, due largely to weakened muscles in my core and pelvic areas. For the first few months of Brannen's life, I didn't have a single day completely pain free, and on my worst days I could hardly move. The extra weight, and poor posture from the back pain, led to ongoing flare-ups in my knees, also. Exercising seemed nearly impossible, and my motivation and confidence were rock-bottom.

During this time, two friends of mine had embarked on a fitness journey and for a while I struggled with feelings of being 'left behind' and inadequate. I felt lazy, slobby and my weight was becoming an issue in other areas. I was struggling to sleep properly, as I prefer to lay on my side, and the excess fat was blocking my airflow, so I couldn't breathe. I was also beginning to fall quite a bit, because of my weakened core, but being so overweight meant that when I fell, I fell very heavily, which was both embarrassing and painful. Watching my beautiful friends achieve such wonderful things in their journey finally gave me the 'kick' I needed to get started, when Brannen was about ten months old.

I started, like many people by walking, and after a bit of time I joined a local exercise group. I huffed and puffed and apologised my way through those early sessions, but, gradually, as my fitness increased, so did my confidence. I downloaded an app called "Couch to 5K" which took me from running not at all, to running 5km at a time in a period of a couple of months. From there, I increased my running distance to about 7km. I loved running, but developed painful shin splints that put an end to my running days (for now). In the meantime, I had begun karate and had developed a pretty good weekly exercise routine consisting of karate training, boxing/circuit training, weights/core training and I have recently added in cycling to this mix.

I paid extra attention to my injuries, and learned how to exercise while looking after them. (Physiotherapy helped with this). I strapped, stretched, massaged and iced where necessary. To this day, I still don't do conventional abdominal exercises, as my core still needs strengthening before it will be ready for that. My knees are now much stronger and generally pain free, and my core is getting stronger all the time. I have very few days of back pain. The support given to me by my friends, especially the ones who are on a similar journey, and the knowledge and advice they share with me, has been an enormous motivator for me. I am very grateful.

Since I started, about five months ago, I have lost 14.3 kilograms, two dress sizes and many centimetres. I'm not where I need to be, but I am over halfway there. I am also fitter, faster, stronger, more flexible and more agile. I love training, and I love the health benefits, both mental and physical, that it reaps. I love being a great role model to my children, and teaching them how to love themselves. The difference, I believe, between my previous weightloss journey and where I am at at the moment, is found here. I no longer hate myself. I love my body, I love watching it get stronger and leaner, but I am okay with it now, too. It has produced three beautiful children, and it will never look the same as it did before, but it works! I feel blessed that I am able to move and be active.

2013 has started well for me. We eat wonderful food, I am able to get out and train six days a week, and I am following a bit of a dream in getting The Play Patch up and running. It's not all roses, all of the time, but things are pretty good.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Long Time No See

It's been awhile. And I'm okay with that. When I started this blog I was determined that I would not post just for the sake of posting, I would not feel pressure to post regularly. I would post only when I felt like it. I haven't felt like posting lately, but today I do.

Life has been moving through the days in it's usual, higgledy-piggledy way. Some ups, some downs. Some long days of nothing much really, and some crazy-busy days all in a row.

My first market for The Play Patch was last weekend. It was, to be honest, a bit ho-hum. I near killed myself with worry in the days leading up to it, and needn't have bothered, really. The 'market' was small, uninviting, poorly advertised and poorly attended. I sold a few bits and pieces, but mainly to friends. Still, it was a good experience, to be able to set up my stall and see what works, what I should change, what I will be needing more of before the next market, and so forth. I was very happy with how my little stall looked, and with the fruits of my frantic labour.

That same weekend, there was a big yard sale at the house next door to us. This house was owned by an elderly lady, who passed away about a year ago. The house has just been sold, and the lady's family put on a yard sale to sell all of her household and garden things. We have chatted over the fence with the lady's daughter and son-in-law a few times, and we were able to pop round and have a wander through the night before the yard sale to see if there was anything we liked. It was a strange feeling, really, and I knew that it must have been very bittersweet for the lady's family - relief at finally seeing an end in sight to all of the dealings involved in handling someone's estate, and grief at seeing a lifetime's worth of possessions of someone dear to them being laid out on tarps in the yard for strangers to pick through and carry away. It was hard to not feel like a bit of a seagull, but we found a few bargains. For less than $50, we ended up with this (plus a few other bits and pieces):

Considering we had been hunting for a secondhand angle grinder, and had been willing to pay up to $50, we feel we did quite well!

The girls have settled in to the swing of school days extraordinarily well, and I am so pleased. Gone are the days of the teacher's assistant wrenching a screaming and sobbing Miya out of my arms every morning, and me feeling like the worst kind of mother for leaving her there. She has a lovely group of friends, and, luckily for me, all of those friends have lovely mothers! She is currently attending in-school swimming lessons and her confidence is growing in leaps and bounds. She has also started after-school gymnastics lessons and it may be the biased mother in me, but I think she's a natural! Eden is into full days now of Kindy and there hasn't been a moment where she hasn't wanted to be there. She has taken to it like a duck to water. She declares she is friends with 'everyone' in the class and she is also quite popular with the Pre-primary kids, thanks no doubt to her sister!

In other news, we have begun (finally) redecorating another room in our house. The 'middle room' was once the old kitchen/meals area, before the extensions were added on, and now has no window or external facing wall. As the ceilings are asbestos, we cannot put a skylight in, so the room is very, very dark. This is fantastic in summer, as it stays quite cool, but in winter, it will render the room almost unusable. I am not a fan of having lights on all day. Unfortunately, most of the furniture we had in there was dark, heavy wood - our long table and benches, and two tall bookshelves. It was also wallpapered halfway up the wall with, ahem, hideous mushroom and gold coloured wallpaper. The previous owners were, I believe, going for elegant and classy, but only managed to hit tacky and garish.

The old wallpaper.
So, we have condensed my book collection down to one bookshelf (this was one of the last vestiges of my former, over the top materialism - it was very hard to say goodbye to all those books - that I never read) and have sold one of the heavy, dark wood bookshelves. We have put the table out on the deck with some mismatched cane and retro chairs where it is looking fabulous.

And we stripped the wallpaper off the walls ready for painting. A friend said to me, "Have you got the paint?" Er, no. We don't even have the money for the paint. But at least the wallpaper is gone!! In the meantime, Pinterest is helping me with my colour choices, made all the more difficult by the fact that the central piece of furniture is my beautiful, seventies', brown leather couch with mustard and brown cushions. I like a challenge!

The end result will be, I hope, a much lighter and more functional room.

My last bit of new is.... Brannen is walking!! It is still not his preferred mode of transport, but he is getting more confident daily.

I hope your weekend has been a fun one!
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